Deadly Night

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Dying to Have Her

Glory
Killing Kelly

The Last Noel

Long, Lean and Lethal

Night of the Blackbird

Picture Me Dead

Surrender

Suspicious

Tall, Dark & Deadly

 
The Killing Edge
by Heather Graham
(MIRA, $24.95, PG) ISBN 978-0778327714
***
Ten years earlier a group of teenagers were massacred in a Florida mansion. Chloe Marin managed to escape and, in the process, saved the lives of three of her friends. Based upon Chloe’s identification of one of the killers, the case was later closed when the killer and another were found dead with a suicide confession note. It was apparent to the police that it had been a cult inspired massacre and, although impossible to prove, linked to “The Church of the Real People.”

Chloe became a psychologist focusing on traumatized victims and channeled her artistic talents as a police sketch artist. Although certainly not needing the work, Chloe’s friend Victoria became a model with the famed Bryson Agency. She and her brother Brad were heirs apparent to a multimillion dollar estate. Jared, the fourth survivor, more or less tagged along with the group, loving Victoria from afar.

The story opens at a cocktail party hosted by the Bryson Agency. Only the very beautiful or very rich are permitted at these affairs, and Luke Cane, a former British cop masquerading as a bathing suit designer is in attendance. A private investigator, Luke is investigating the disappearance of Colleen, a Bryson Agency model. The parents of Colleen’s best friend and fellow model Rene are worried about her safety because they do not believe the story the agency is putting out that her sudden disappearance must have been part of a publicity stunt to enhance her modeling career.

Shortly after the massacre, Chloe began seeing ghosts of her deceased friends, and although these apparitions disappeared over the years, she is now seeing the ghost of Colleen. Through her friend Victoria, Chloe became loosely associated with the Bryson Agency in order to investigate the alleged disappearance of Colleen.

Luke is there to make contact with Rene in order to discover why she is refusing to talk with her parents and to assess whether or not she is in any danger. She runs from him, he gives chase, and she escapes. At this juncture Chloe and Luke finally realize they have the same goals and reluctantly agree to more or less merge their efforts.

In learning more about Chloe, Luke uncovers the massacre of her youth and learns the Church still exists and is a force within the community. He and Chloe both think the resolution of that crime was much too tidy. When Chloe discovers victims of the same styled horror that had occurred to her years before, the focus shifts quickly as she and Luke realize she may have been the target then as now, and the path to resolution begins amidst mutual attraction, coincidences and a paranormal element.

The author has taken advantage of the south Florida area, enhancing the novel  with interesting and colorful descriptions of scenes. Although the principal characters are fairly well developed many of the secondary ones are not so favored. There is little variation in the pacing as it moves slowly until the abovementioned coincidences and ghosts point the way to a not unexpected conclusion. Some heavy handed foreshadowing may relieve the reader from being totally surprised.

--Thea Davis


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